Hornets jump back in playoff picture
John Essex (3-5, 2-4) captured that elusive third win Friday night when it downed Holy Spirit 22-6 at home. The victory came after the Hornets suffered near misses against Coffeeville and Keith each of the last two weeks.
“They played great defense,” John Essex head coach Jerome Antone said of his players. “I am very proud of the defense they played. It was a very, very intense game on both sides. I am really proud of the effort.”
The Hornets got 187 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns from senior A.J. Bennett in the game. Bennett, who also plucked a timely interception to help fuel the victory, scored his first touchdown when he hauled in a 65-yard pass from Terry Fountain. Denzell Charleston added 126 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Bennett and Charleston each accounted for a two-point conversion.
The win sets John Essex up with a chance to make a run at a 5-5 record as it faces Shades Mountain (0-8) next week and closes out the regular season with R.C. Hatch (2-6). More importantly, the win spawns a scenario in which the Hornets could play themselves into a three-way tie for the final playoff spot in Class 1A, Region 4.
A win by the Hornets over region foe Shades Mountain Christian next week puts their region record at 3-4. Should Keith lose to favored Autaugaville and Holy Spirit fall to favored Pickens County next week, all three teams would be at 3-5. Holy Spirit holds a victory over Keith. The Hornets lost to Keith last week but now have the victory over Holy Spirit that would send the fourth and final playoff spot to the state tiebreaker system.